Italian Summer Camps: Workers' Villages--Crespi d'Adda

Figure 1.--The photo was taken in Crespi d'Adda, a workers' village about 40 kms northeast of Milan. We can see the children participating in a summer day camp. The phtograph is undated, but looks to have been taken about 1930. The children are engaged in gym exercices. Thy look to be mostly boys, but some firls also seem to be involved. They look to be wearing suspender shorts. As they are dressed so similarly, the outfits were orobably providd by the company. There are, however differences. A few of ghe boys look to be waring romper pants rather than ordinary shorts. The only important clothing difference are the footwear.

Model villages for workers first appeared in Europe (late-18th centurry). They were first built by land-owners to provide improved living conditions for their workers. the new indistrialists began to do the same for their workers (early-19th century). The largest numbers we know of werein England, but we also see some on the Continent and in America. They were largely self-contained communitiess. The villages were located close to the workplace, but generally separated from them. They consisted of relatively high quality housing compared to the standards of he day. The villages varied, but generally had integrated community amenities and pleasing physical environments. The best preserved worker' village in Italy is the Villaggio Crespi d'Adda (Crespi Workers' Village). It is an entire town by itself. It was an entire purpose-built town, created from the ground up by the Crespi family, cotton manufacturers from Lombardy. They built their model workers' village close to their factory along the Adda river. The workers' families were provided with homes, gardens, vegetable gardens and all necessary local services. The head of the Crespi family 'reigned; over their perfect little world like a medieval lord from his castle. He provided all needs of his employees and their families from cradle to grave. Among the various servics offered were day camps for the children during the summer.


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Created: 2:40 AM 4/9/2009
Last updated: 2:40 AM 4/9/2009